Save our GPs

MORE than a third (34 per cent) of GPs in the South are considering retiring from general practice within the next five years. The results of our recent survey of over 15,000 GPs across the UK, calls into question the viability of election pledges in the political parties recent manifesto announcements, which promise to dramatically increase the number of GPs in the next Parliament. As well as a worrying number of GPs considering retiring from the profession, the poll shows that just under a fifth (17 per cent) of those GPs who responded were considering moving to part-time working, nine per cent are considering leaving the UK to work overseas, and eight per cent are contemplating leaving general practice to work in a different industry. This poll lays bare the stark reality of the crisis facing the GP workforce in the South. It is clear that incredible pressures on GP services are at the heart of this problem, with escalating demand having far outstripped capacity. GPs across the region, are overworked and intensely frustrated that they do not have enough time to spend with their patients, especially those with multiple and complex problems, in need of specialised care. Rather than making unachievable, headline-grabbing promises, we need politicians to focus on addressing the pressures facing GP services, so that we retain the current GP workforce and attract young doctors to become GPs. In our new campaign, No More Games, we are calling on politicians to stop playing games with the NHS. We urgently need an honest, open debate about the future of general practice, or we could be facing a situation where we do not have enough GPs to deliver effective care to patients. DR HELENA McKEOWN Wiltshire GP and BMA representative for Wiltshire

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